ARMCHAIR BOOK CLUB: Celebrating B.C.’s best authors

Penticton columnist reviews the B.C. Book Prizes, now in their 29th year, that celebrate the best of our province’s writers.

The best books from B.C. will be selected at a gala event next month. The B.C. Book Prizes, now in their 29th year, celebrate the best of our province’s writers.

Most of the seven categories are traditional — giving awards for the best work of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, children’s literature (illustrated), and children’s literature (non-illustrated).  But, B.C. books also includes two unique categories: a regional prize, which recognizes the author of a book that most contributes to the enjoyment and understanding of B.C., and the Bookseller’s Choice award for the book with the broadest public appeal.

This year the Okanagan is represented in the fiction category by Anne Fleming, who teaches at the University of BC in Kelowna, and is nominated for her intriguingly-titled novel Gay Dwarves of America. Also connected to the Okanagan is George Bowering, who grew up in Oliver, and is nominated for his memoir Pinboy. Readers may recognize Bowering from the recent Okanagan Reads valley-wide book club, which featured his 2008 novel, Shoot!.

The BC Book Prizes include other familiar names such as Bill Gaston, who has been twice-nominated. This time around he is nominated for his grandly-named novel The World. In this quirky read, newly divorced and freshly retired school teacher Stuart Price cashes in his pension to pay off his house. To celebrate his last mortgage payment, he burns the bank papers on his back deck. Falling asleep before the fire is completely out, Price wakes to find himself suddenly homeless and near penniless. Gaston sends Price on a hilarious journey of discovery, just managing to keep Price’s ridiculous antics this side of believable.

The list of 35 finalists is eclectic and broad-ranging, featuring something for just about any reader. The stack contains a new B.C. atlas, the history of B.C. trucking, the history of an infamous Vancouver nightclub, a book about the life of P.K. Page, a story about a high-profile mountain plane crash, and an overview of 100 years of the Vancouver Sun. The B.C. Book Prizes will be awarded in Victoria, but with tours planned for every part of the province, most British Columbians will get to hear the voices of some of the authors. The tour planners intentionally send authors to regions far from their own homes, as a way to for both authors and readers to make new connections.

This year in the Interior, illustrator Stefan Czernecki will showcase his book Rainbow Shoes, and Evelyn Lau will read from her new book of poetry A Grain of Rice. The closest stop on their tour will be in Princeton on May 3. For event details, to read the complete list of contenders, or follow the B.C. book tour blog, visit www.bcbookprizes.ca.

Heather Allen is a reader and writer living in Penticton.

Just Posted

Team Canada loses 5-2 over the Czech Republic at World Junior A Challenge

Vees’ Tychonick drops in one of Team Canada West’s pair of goals

AlleyCats ally with Penticton artist

Artist Terry Isaac gave up some space in his shop at Cherry Lane to help out the AlleyCats Alliance

Accent Christmas holidays with delicious chocolates

By SCOTT TRUDEAU Special to the Western News If you’ve been to… Continue reading

Vipers snap Vees’ unbeaten run at 13

Vernon hands Penticton first shutout loss of the season, 4-0 at home Saturday

Legion bell prank hits sour note

Anger erupts after Summerland Legion member removes bell from Peachland Legion

AlleyCats ally with Penticton artist

Artist Terry Isaac gave up some space in his shop at Cherry Lane to help out the AlleyCats Alliance

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

California couple name daughter after Revelstoke

Revy Elle Atashroo was born on Nov. 27. Her name honours the town her parents loved exploring.

VIDEO: Vancouver Whitecaps acquire star striker Kei Kamara

Kamara has 103 goals and 39 assists in 298 appearances over 11 Major League Soccer seasons

Smartphone pedometers underestimate steps, but valuable health tool: study

UBC researchers found the iPhone underestimated steps by 21.5 per cent

VIDEO: ‘Last Jedi’ premiere kicks off with droids, Daisy Ridley

Latests Star Wars film premiered in style ahead of Dec. 15 theatre debut

UPDATE: Poor ventilation likely cause of carbon monoxide incident at B.C. farm

All 42 patients have been released from hospital, according to Delta Fire

BC Lions part ways with three coaches

These are the first personnel moves made by new general manager Ed Hervey

Most Read